To bring you on this journey, it would be useful to know exactly what Robotic Process Automation is, especially for those that are currently scratching your heads thinking we are talking about the next futuristic blockbuster!
RPA (robotic process automation) is the automation of repetitive and rule-based tasks that are performed by people. And by using RPA, businesses can simplify work and achieve more in less time. Again you are probably thinking, ‘Yeah, but how can I use that in my business?’ For example, if you are a travel company where you rely on manual processes for repetitive tasks such as managing flight schedule changes, sending out tickets and itineraries to customers or matching supplier invoices – then yes, RPA is technology you will be able to utilise. It will save you money, allow you to scale, improve your processes, and make your employees happy. So it is a win-win all around.
The Application of RPA
Now that you know what RPA is, let’s talk about what tasks are best suited to automation and how this can be implemented within your business:
Integration: Driving multiple APIs, integrating internal systems and driving MS Office applications
Matching: Matching documents, processing customers requirements and de-duping
Categorisation: Categorising emails, analysing customer sentiment, and segmenting customers
Reporting: Collating data, analysing data, integrating data and producing excel MI documents
Repetitive: Loading data, cut and pasting tasks, searching the web and enforcing business rules
CASE STUDY: Stewart Travel
They always say the proof of the pudding is in the eating! So let me take you on the next part of this journey.
Stewart Travel is a popular and busy Travel Agency with retail shops based around Scotland and Northern Ireland. They have a wide range of products, including cruise, pre-package holidays and tailor-made tours. They had been utilising RPA for document scanning but were looking for a more enhanced experience than the one that was on their platform. Their current application of RPA was related to document scanning, but it only scanned confirmations and a small number of notifications and with less than 50 suppliers, and it wouldn’t deal with notifications and cancellations plus they needed it to include more suppliers and cope with the scanning of emails, HTML and PDF documents. The current set-up led to costly errors and frustration amongst employees, and it also led to massive resource issues during peak booking periods. Stewart Travel reached out to us as their technology partner to see if we had a product that could provide a solution to address these specific issues.
Traveltek’s RPA product was able to be applied, which would provide a solution to their document scanning issues. Our product can deliver;
- Document scanning of HTML, pdf and email
- Scan documents from 200+ suppliers, including the likes of Jet2, Jet2Holidays, Holiday Taxis, Stuba, Carnival, P&O, Princess Cruises, MSC and Royal Caribbean, to name a few.
- Scan documents related to:
- Confirmation Invoices (client & agent copies)
- Cancellations (client & agent copies)
On average, the robot embedded at Stewart Travel currently matches 11,000+ documents per month, and remember that if this doubles, triples or even quadruples, the robot can scale to accommodate this.
Stewart Travel added that ‘The RPA solution that Traveltek were able to provide resolved an incredible time-consuming issue we had in keeping up with inbound documentation from suppliers. The RPA solution allowed us to focus our efforts and resource on quality checks rather than sourcing and attaching documents, making the whole process more efficient, and freeing up valuable staff time to focus on delivering customer support and service’.
Embracing new technology can be scary, and also, you might have employees that are unsure about change or worried that robots are replacing their jobs, however, the opposite is true. At Traveltek, we take a consultancy approach to RPA; the first step on this journey is an audit of your manually heavy processes (this part is free as well – bonus!). Once the report is produced, which takes about two weeks, depending on the volume of processes you have in place, we can provide you with a list of quick wins and long-term solutions where automation can help. After that, once you decide to go ahead, the project will be kicked-off, and your specific robot (or you might choose to have multiple robots – everyone likes a pal) will be built to perform the specific tasks you require it to do. Once it has been tested and you are happy with the process, it will be embedded into your business. Your staff who were previously doing these highly repetitive tasks can get back to what they do best – selling holidays.
RPA = Automating over 66% of manual processes for the Cruise Retailer Back Office
On a serious note, the travel industry, as we all know, is going through something it has never experienced before. With the industry effectively on pause, this is a good time to take stock and evaluate how you can make your business more efficient, productive and scalable so that you are in a strong position for when the bounce-back begins.
To find out more about RPA, and even if it is just to have a more in-depth conversation about the product, the process around the audit or implementation of RPA, please head over to our contact us page and request an RPA demo.
Now, we need to develop RPA to include housework, and our work will be complete!